A company hoping to send people’s ashes into space has announced its next mission will be on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Elysium Space is a San Francisco based startup self-proclaimed as a mix of funeral and space experts.
In 2015, the company attempted to send a cubesat into orbit on the maiden flight of the US Air Force Super Strypi rocket, but the launch failed. The company has announced today it hopes to use its partnership with SpaceX to send its first successful “memorial mission” on a SpaceX Falcon 9.
Exactly when the launch will happen is unknown. “We’re in the launch queue and look forward to getting to space and fulfilling our mission as soon as possible,” Thomas Civeit, founder and CEO of Elysium Space, told WIRED.
“SpaceX has full control of the launch date.”
The mission will take ashes into a Sun-synchronous orbit around the Earth, lasting two years, before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and burning up in the process, to stop any space pollution.
“Eventually, in a last poetic moment, the spacecraft will harmlessly re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, blazing as a shooting star,” Civeit told WIRED.
The satellite will orbit in such a way that it will pass over the same part of Earth at roughly the same local time each day.
“A memorial spacecraft carries a sample of ashes and orbit the Earth for a couple of years,” Civeit continued.
According to the company, there are already 100 participants booked on the Elysium Star II mission, including US military veterans and aerospace enthusiasts.
While they are in orbit, anyone interested will be able to track the satellite’s position using an app.
“The free iOS/Android Elysium mobile app displays the memorial spacecraft location in real time during the mission, enhancing the overall personal connection and experience.”
While the ashes are in orbit, anyone interested will be able to track the satellite’s position using an app
Prices for sending some of your loved one’s ashes into space start at $2,490 (£1,929) and there are still places available on the first mission.
“Offering dedicated rideshare missions makes it easier and more affordable for organisations like Elysium Space to execute their space missions,” said Curt Blake, President of Spaceflight’s launch division.
“We are pleased to be able to play a role in their historical mission.”